No offense to the yoga studio owner. I had anticipated meeting lots of you (and your Bohemian hippie sisters) at Spiritual Solutions. What I had not anticipated, however, was for the seminar to be filled with so many women like me. Women from investment banking, consulting, law, medicine, and corporate management…with years or even decades hopping continents and charging up the corporate ladder…until crisis set in. Or maybe just “self” set in. (Self often sets in assuming the form of crisis.)
Once the self starts prodding “this is it?”, she/he leaves an impalpable unsettled feeling of dissatisfaction. The dissatisfaction stems from the emptiness of worldly success (often at high cost) and/or simply working uninspired. Whatever the cause, the effect had led us all to this seminar. Either at a crossroads or in very different lines of work most often entrepreneurial and for a much reduced paycheck. While I applaud these women for responding to self, I also feel sad or maybe I should say unconvinced…
I know from experience that it doesn’t matter so much the “what”, as it matters the “why”. There was a time in my life…late twenties / early thirties…when I could turn nearly any conversation into one about pensions. Didn’t matter whether we were discussing burritos or bulldogs, I had this knack for seeing some connection to my love…my research-on-pensions-in-Japan “love”. Seemingly crazy, probably highly annoying, but utterly real…as in, real to me. My why reason for dedication.
The why connects the heart. It creates engagement, inspired action, and alignment with our dharma (life purpose). The why keeps us in the game. Of course, it is easier and simpler to change the what. But, it is critical for our economy that employees and companies in all industries recognize that the what can be transformed to match the why. The what just needs some alchemy.
Alchemy away from just the paycheck. That’s what we’re learning from the millenials. Not interested in promotion if it means not being able to keep dinner plans on Friday night.
Dinner plans?” my generation scoffs.
Yes, dinner plans. We’ve moved past no work-life balance into a place where even work-life balance leaves us empty if the work side of the equation is devoid of inspiration. Work-life integration is where we feel like ourselves and where we can live life more fully…more healthily. Congruency in all areas of life for alignment and fulfillment at a deeper core level.
To see this in action, you need look no further than your local Starbucks. There is more than a pay differential and a benefits differential driving the noticeable customer service differential. The “what” is they are serving coffee…expensive coffee at that, but you can tell they feel the why more deeply. There is a level of engagement that the company has affected broadly. And it not only affects the employee retention (cost side), it affects the customer experience (revenue side). Put these together and we have two sources of positive lift…profit lift.
You see, you can take the girl out of Wharton, but you can’t take the Wharton out of the girl. All of this fluffy spiritual stuff translates into profit. It’s a matter of inspiring the capital to perform optimally….note when it is human and act accordingly.
That is the spiritual solution we need in the office. Not necessarily a dedicated meditation room or a place for prayer (but kudos to the companies that go to such length…), we need an environment that supports our employees’ creativity and fuels their sense of purpose into inspired action.
Hearts need to be engaged for profits to soar. Dream big. Desire more.